High school students find future careers at 8th annual Academy Expo

Education Matters

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Local business leaders get the chance to interact with their future workforce.

Alignment Rockford hosted its 8th annual Academy Expo.

Dozens of industry leaders in fields like healthcare, public safety, manufacturing and engineering displayed information on careers in their workplace.

The event was geared specifically toward the nearly 2,000 high school freshman in District 205. Students learn about careers they may not have known existed in the community.

“Our students need to see that we care. We care about their future,” said Alignment Rockford Executive Director, Anisha Grimmett. “We care about providing opportunities for them and opening doors for them. So this creates a great space for that. This is the beginning of their career journey it’s what they’re experiencing here. We just want to continue to foster that.”

Booths with interactive displays and hands on activities showcase the many career options available in the region.

“It’s not just being spoken to, but there are different opportunities to participate with robotics or with the police department, and they have activities to show you the type of work you’d be doing,” said Senior student ambassador, Aryan Arora. “You get to see hands-on weather that’s the right fit for you.”

Choosing a career path as a freshman can be a daunting task.

“These students here are looking for something to sustain them for the rest of their lives,” said RVC grad and Cherry Valley Firefighter, Ryan Wilcox. “And so this is the best opportunity to promote, to show why you care and what you do so these students can make an informed decision. Because this is a pretty big decision that they’re making here.”

Organizers believe showcasing the many career and employment opportunities the Rockford area has to offer will help the region be stronger in the long run.

“We really want to get them to understand everything that’s available to them so they go away to school or go to the trades or to an apprenticeship or another career directly out of high school that they think about actual coming back to the region to work and live and play,” said Executive Director of college and career readiness for RPS 205, Bridget French.

Organizers of the event hope exposure to different careers will help students choose The Academy, they’ll enter in their sophomore year.

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